By DEUCE NIVEN
Faced with North Carolina’s first deaths resulting from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and a growing number of businesses ordered to shut down effective at 5 p.m. today, Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday hinted at a statewide shelter in place order in the coming days.
This post will cover these topics:
- Disease spread and shelter-in-place
- Booming business as salons prepare to close
- ATMC provides Wi-Fi hotspots
Disease spread, shelter-in-place
“It’s a day of mourning in North Carolina,” Gov. Cooper said near the end of a press briefing Wednesday in Raleigh.”
He began the briefing with a report on the first two reported deaths from COVID-19 in the state, a Cabarrus County resident in their late 70s with “several underlying medical conditions” and a Virginia resident in their 60s who became ill while travelling through North Carolina.
“We know a number of patients are seriously ill,” Cooper said. “Some are in critical condition, they are fighting for their lives.”
Because COVID-19 is so contagious, family members are kept from their sick loves ones, a “stark reminder that we must take this disease seriously,” Cooper said.
Actions to slow the spread of the disease, closing schools, banning mass gatherings, ordering restaurants to stop serving on-premise meals, and now shuttering barber shops, hair salons, and many other businesses will help slow the spread, Cooper said.
Everyone must take part, he said, practicing social distancing, proper hand washing and other hygiene. He encouraged businesses to develop teleworking policies whenever possible, and be prepared to implement if that hasn’t been done already.
“You may need those plans in order to stay open,” Cooper said.
Shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders have been implemented in some areas of North Carolina, and some have encouraged the governor to issue a state-wide order. Will he?
“We want people to stay at home,” Cooper said. “Local communities are doing what they think is right. It’s important for us to make sure that we are deliberate and that we get this right.
“We are telling people now that we want them to stay home. We will be issuing additional orders soon.”
In South Carolina some lawmakers have asked Gov. Henry McMaster to issue a shelter-in-place order, too. He has not done that, yet, but has asked that all visitors to the state self-quarantine for two weeks if they are staying more than two nights.
Booming business as salons prepare to close
“It’s been crazy,” Carolina Girls owner Haley Cartrette said Tuesday, and the business prepared to comply with Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order to close down by 5 p.m. today (Wednesday).
Gov. Cooper’s order also closes a number of businesses including beauty salons, nail salons, barber shops, indoor exercise facilities including gyms and martial arts facilities, movie theaters and live performance venues, health clubs and more.
Gov. Cooper encouraged those business owners to close sooner, but said legal enforcement of the ban would begin Wednesday afternoon.
Grocery stores and restaurants providing takeout and delivery remain open, under the governor’s order.
Women eager to get their hair done before the salon closed flooded Carolina Girls and other shops in Tabor City Tuesday.
“It’s been crazy,” Cartrette said. “Everybody’s trying to get in before we have to close.
“We’ve been busy, everybody’s been so supportive.”
Style Envy owner Heather Spivey said the story was the same there.
“We are in a panic,” Buffkin said. “We knew it was going to happen anytime, but we kind of thought it would be at the end of the week. Cutting it off in the middle of the week, everybody’s in a panic.
“We’re trying to get everybody in as possible.”
Spivey said she has expansion plans for Style Envy that may be delayed by the COVID-19 crisis.
“Hopefully, when all this passes we’re going to be expanding,” she said.
For now, both Cartrette and Spivey said they will go home and stay home as much as possible.
“I’m going home to home school my children,” said Cartrette, mother to second and fourth grade children.
“This is sad,” Spivey said. “I’m almost at my 20-year mark. Any time we go on vacation, our clients are ready for us to get back.”
Spivey said it’s important for people to stay home, for now.
“If everybody would stay at home we could get everything under control and let us get back to work,” she said.
ATMC provides Wi-Fi hotspots
Helping to bring Internet access to public school students and others impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, ATMC and the Columbus County Schools have created five new public access Wi-Fi hotspots, the Shallotte based cooperative announced Wednesday.
These hotspots “will allow Columbus County families to access educational material for their school-aged children while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” a news release said.
Wi-Fi hotspots are located at Williams Township School, the Columbus Career and College Academy in Fair Bluff, Acme Delco Elementary School, West Columbus High School, and East Columbus High School.
Each hotspot is accessible within several hundred feet from the school, and users should be able to connect their wireless device to the “CCSGuest” network.
Hotspots will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
“We are working to make the best of this most unusual situation by ensuring that our students continue to make academic progress,” said Dr. Deanne Meadows, Columbus County Schools Superintendent. “Our teachers are developing some really innovative curriculum given the circumstances, and we want all of our students to be able to have access to it.
“There are still large areas of Columbus County where fast, reliable internet is not available. That’s why I appreciate ATMC stepping up to help us provide the online access that is critical at this time. These hotspots will allow parents and students without access at home to come to these locations in their vehicles to participate in the online learning.”
“These are really unprecedented times, and ATMC is certainly glad to be able to do this for students in Columbus County,” said ATMC CEO Keith Holden. “We were proud to be able to work with Columbus County Schools to design and implement solutions that are critical to connecting students who may not have any other option.”
For more information regarding how to utilize the Wi-Fi hotspots, visit here.
Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.